SINE HWANG JENSEN is a queer, Asian American, mixed-race woman who began volunteering with APIENC about a year ago. Currently, Sine is a librarian at the UC Berkeley Ethnic Studies Library, focusing on Asian American and Comparative Ethnic Studies.
Growing up, Sine had difficulty finding resources about her history and where she came from. She worked with her grandfather on his life story (they even wrote a book!) and became involved in student and community organizations that pertained to queerness, feminism, and labor unions. This, along with the fact that her grandparents were librarians, led her to want to become a librarian. “The main purpose of a librarian is to share information and connect people to the resources that they’re looking for,” she said.
Sine has volunteered with several organizations. Before moving here, Sine lived in Baltimore and worked with Baltimore Racial Justice Action, a grassroots organization promoting education about racial justice. There, she worked as a facilitator and trainer, and took away the idea that you can make change from wherever you are. She was also a member of MOONROOT, a creative collective of womyn, trans, and genderqueer folks of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. With MOONROOT, she learned about the importance of building loving community and self-care. To this day, Sine believes that volunteering is extremely important:
It’s so crucial to build community with each other and be of service to each other. We are interdependent and we all need each other…It means a lot to me to be able to build with people. I am kind of an introvert so through volunteering, I get to meet and interact with people, all while having a role.
I love that API Equality invests in people, invests time, energy, love into people, and love into our histories. That’s something that really resonates with me as a librarian, as someone who really loves studying history. I also love volunteering at API Equality because I can contribute my knowledge and my skills to API Equality, and then I get back so much too.
Sine was pulled into the Dragon Fruit Project because of her background and love of oral history. She appreciates APIENC’s intentionality in trying to figure out what people’s strengths are and finding where they fit best within the work. Most recently, Sine played a big part in facilitating the Leadership Exchange and leading a “Theater of the Oppressed” workshop. Looking towards the future of the LGBTQ API community, Sine hopes that “we can all be free.”
Fun Fact: In high school, Sine worked as an apprentice at an auto-mechanic shop!